The artifact is an extremely rare, “L. S.,” (explained below), with the signature of Pope Paul V as the actual heading of the document.
It is a one page letter, written on November 1, 1613, to Alessandro d’Este, the cardinal-priest of Santa Maria della Pace, bishop of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
The document is in Italian and is referencing the Pope’s correspondence with the Cardinal regarding his upcoming travel to Spain: “to make this trip for your important affairs, we give you our blessing…wishing you a safe trip and good return…”
The letter itself acts as the actual envelope and bears the red wax seal of Pope Paul V–his coat of arms.
Cardinal d’Este was a priest for 2.5 years, a bishop for 2.1 years, and a cardinal for 25.1 years. In 1613, at the time of this correspondence, he was 45 years old, and participated in three conclaves.
The “L. S.” (legal definition) designation of this artifact refers to the Latin abbreviation, “logus sigilli,” which indicates the place of importance of Pope Paul V’s signature at the very top of the document.
Santa Maria della Pace is a church in Rome, central Italy, not far from Piazza Navona. The building lies in rione Ponte.